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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A nifty little website

A few months ago a friend told me about a website called icheckmovies. It's a really cool place where, once you've made an account, you can check off the movies you've seen on certain lists (or, even if they're not on any lists, you can still check them off) like the "Top 250" (IMDb), the "All-Time Worldwide Box Office", the "AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies", the "BFI 100" etc. etc.

Based on how many you've checked off, you're ranked among the other members of the site and you get "awards" based on how many films you've checked off certain lists.

If you're someone like me who loves lists and checking things off thereof, you should definitely check out the site! It's great fun and it's pretty nifty to have little goals in you film watching. For example, I'd like to finish the "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions" list soon (I'm over half way there! Yay!). And one of the best things is that many of the lists aren't static, so you will never have watched all of the films on all of the lists because new ones are constantly being added! 

If you go and sign up, or if you're already a member, leave me a comment with your username and I'll add you as a friend! 

If you haven't already seen it, please check out my 15 Movie Questions Meme that I posted earlier on today :D

Fifteen Movie Questions Meme

Clara over at Via Margutta 51 answered the 15 Movie Questions Meme yesterday, so I decided I would jump on the band wagon and join in the fun!

1.  Movie  you love with a passion.

This is so hard to answer! There are a whole bunch of films that I absolutely adore and can watch over and over again, but I'm going to go with The Sound of Music and Anne of Green Gables

2. Movie you vow never to watch.

I was going to say horror films because (besides a few early horror films) I have never watched one and don't intend to any time soon. However, I'm reluctant to say I'll never watch something, and barring a whole genre of films from my tv screen is pretty stupid. That being said, I can say that without a shadow of a doubt I will never watch the horror that is High School Musical (or any of it's sequels).

3. Movie that literally left you speechless.

Like Clara also said, I don't ever remember being speechless after watching a classic film. Probably the nearest I ever came to being speechless was when I rewatched Titanic (1953) last year, but after a few minutes I just started crying! However, more modern films such as Schindler's List and Sophie's Choice have all left me speechless. 

Come to think of it, there have been some classic films recently that have left me speechless. Splendor In the Grass, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, On the Beach, and The Birds.

4. Movie you always recommend.

Depending on the person, I usually lure them with something they've heard of that isn't too old (ugh, how I detest that word!) and that they've probably heard of aka Breakfast at Tiffany's (cliché, I know. Everyone thinks that it's the epitome of classic Hollywood and every man and his dog has the poster. But it's nevertheless a great film and well worth watching.), The Sound of Music etc. and then throw them The Thin Man, maybe The Quiet Man, and perhaps It Happened One Night. Basically, that is how I try to convert people to classic film. Oh wait, that wasn't the question...

5. Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie.

Deborah Kerr. I suffered through the-film-that-must-not-be-named (*cough*The Gypsy Moths*cough*) because of Deborah. I WAS SCARRED FOR LIFE! I kid you not. Do not watch that film. Ever. It is a travesty against all that is good and Deborah. Fuuuadlkajsd.

6. Actor/actress you don't get the appeal for.

Grace Kelly. I've tried to like her but I just don't understand her appeal. To me, she is the same in every film she appeared in. You could switch her characters in Mogambo and Rean Window for example, and you wouldn't notice any difference. She was just so... beige. Whilst I certainly don't argue that she wasn't a great beauty and a huge fashion icon (and still is today), I'm afraid I just don't find anything about her remotely interesting. Ah well, it's my loss I suppose!

7. Actor/actress, living or dead, you'd love to meet.

Those that are no longer with us: Deborah, Greer, Stany, Audrey, Roz, Helle Virkner, Jean (Simmons), Marlene, Lucille, Irene, Arlene, Errol, Eve, Gregory...

Still living: Eleanor, Glynis, Maureen (I could have been meeting her in June if not for my stupid health!), Celeste, James Garner, Olivia, Joan, Lauren, Peter O'Toole...

8. Sexiest actor/actress you've seen. (Picture required!)

I don't think anyone did sexy in Old Hollywood quite like Gregory Peck and Marlene Dietrich.

9. Dream Cast.

Oh my. To be honest, if Deborah and Greer had made a few films together I would have been beyond happy.  I mean, you can hardly class Julius Caesar as them being in a film together. 

10. Favourite actor pairing.

Last year I did a post about my 10 favourite on-screen couples. It hasn't really changed much, I don't think. Greer and Walter in anything, Roz and Cary in His Girl Friday, Greer and Ronald in Random Harvest, Irene and Cary, Myrna and Bill, Ginger and Fred, Maureen and John, Deborah and Cary, Kate and Spence... so many! 

11. Favourite movie setting.

Anything that takes place out in beautiful countryside is heaven to me. Some of my favourite film settings are the Salzburg and the surrounding areas in The Sound of Music, Prince Edward Island in Anne of Green Gables, Ireland in The Quiet Man, Alabama in Fried Green Tomatoes, and anything set in France or Italy.

12. Favourite decade for movies.

I couldn't really pick, but I tend to watch a lot of films from the '50s. 

13. Chick flick or action movie.

Growing up with two older brothers I have come to appreciate action movies. Not so much action moves which consist of a high speed chases, men with obscenely large muscles bursting out of their t-shirts, and the token "hot" girl, but action films which I would classify first as war films and second as action films. I'm definitely more a fan of more recent action films than the pre-1960 ones. There are a few I like, but on the whole, none of them can really match up to Saving Private Ryan etc..

14. Hero, villain or anti-hero?


15. Black and white or colour?

This is an impossible question to answer! I love black and white films and scowl at the people who say "I can't stand black and white films.". I also love colour films. Films like Gone With the Wind, The King and I, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing etc. wouldn't have been quite the same without their gorgeous colours. 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

How do you measure, measure a year? I would say in classic film because... *drum roll*... today is the 1st birthday of Waitin' On A Sunny Day! I can't quite believe it's been that long since I started this blog. Back then, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to write about; classic film definitely wasn't one of my intentions. You see, a couple of years ago I tried to just watch more "modern" films instead of classic film because I was sick of people saying "Who? What? 1941? I don't like old films..." whenever I talked about the films and actresses I loved. I should have known that my classic film love was just waiting to burst out again when the first few posts I wrote on here were about some of my favourite classic actresses. However, the amazing classic film community on here soon had me as in love with the classics as I ever was and now, a year on, I have a hole bunch of new classic loves. So, I thank you all so much for welcoming me and getting me back into the films I love!

Deborah says cheers!

I thought that this week I would write a few posts about classic related things I've come to love throughout the past 365 days. So stay tuned!

Once again, thank you to all my wonderful followers and to everyone who welcomed me into the classic film community here on blogspot! You're all fabulous!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Photo of the Day

I really want Claudette's outfit in this photo. I just love how she always managed to look so casual and comfy whilst still looking put together.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Big Country or How Sophie Has Almost Been Converted to Westerns

I'm sure I've mentioned it several times before but I don't like Westerns at all. Or, I didn't used to like Westerns at all. My Mum really likes them, as did my Grandma. Whenever I used to visit her, she would often have a Western on the tv (but that could have just been because she always had the tv on and at least one of the terrestrial channels has to show a Western in the afternoon - I think it may be a law or something). Anyway, I digress. So, yeah, I've just never liked Westerns. They annoy me. I had never deliberately sat in front of the tv to watch a Western (unless you count Calamity Jane... but they sing! That takes some ofthe pain out of it.) until last year. Forty Guns I'm looking at you. Well, actually I'm looking at Barbara Stanwyck because she's the one who made me start watching Westerns (In my step-Granddad's words "She was a cowgirl!"). I will watch anything with Stany in it and Westerns are no exception. So, just for Stany, I voluntarily watched a Western for the first time. I watched a few more and then BAM! In March I watched The Big Country (1958).

Is it legal to marry a film theme?

Jean Simmons + Gregory Peck + Charlton Heston + Burl Ives = an absolutely fantasmagorical cast. Oh, and there was Caroll Baker but I have no idea who she is so I'm not going to talk about her. I only decided to watch this film because Jean is in it and, being quite a big fan of hers, I thought it about time that I had a shot at watching it. I thought it would be 165 minutes of blergh but instead, it was 165 minutes of PLEASE LET ME MARRY THIS FILM AND GREGORY PECK AND LET JEAN SIMMONS BE MY BEST FRIEND BECAUSE SHE'S SO INCREDIBLY MAGNIFICENT IN THIS FILM!! Well, Jean is always magnificent, but even more so in The Big Country. Watch it, you'll see what I mean. Meanwhile, here's a taster.

Now, I thought about it, for not that long I must admit, and found out that I actually know what's making me enjoy Westerns. The sweeping, breathtaking vistas (that aren't painted -- not that I have a problem with the scenery in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. If you focus on Jane Powell, you can kind of forget about the backdrop - especially when she sings...). I don't know why, but as long as I get to see vast Technicolor deserts/mountains/plains/whatever every few minutes, I will carry on watching. I do not, however, want any Spaghetti Western/low budget cheap ket, I want the real stuff. EPIC WESTERNS. That's what floats my boat. Give me spectacular scenery and I'm happy. Basically, give me a big country (See what I did there? Yeah.) for 165 minutes. Or even longer because, you see, I have discovered something about Westerns and I want to share it with you all. There are a few exceptions (The Misfits, for example. I think it's just over 2 hours and it doesn't have any Technicolor scenery. It's still incredible though. You should watch it.) but a really good Western will be almost Gone With the Wind-like in length. FACT. Or not. That's more of a personal opinion or just a random observation. It's still true though. Raise your hand up if you agree with me!

Here's the opening scene. I must say, it didn't draw me in as much as it could have. I almost stopped watching. Sure, the music is delicious but...

... I'm not feeling it. Too much wheel/horse leg action. I NEED MY VAST TECHNICOLOR LANDSCAPES, WILLIAM WYLER.

If you're interested, you should check out this "behind the scenes" video narrated by Jean. Good stuff.

So yeah... I'm not 100% sure what this post was. I hope it's not too crazy - wait, who am I kidding? Crazy is the new... something. I don't know. But crazy is awesome. Maybe crazy is the new awesome. That doesn't really makes sense but let's pretend it did, k? ;D Speak to you soon!


Photo of the Day

Deborah and Ava on the set of The Night of the Iguana (1964). I think this photo is so lovely. Ava is my favourite female co-star of Deborah's (along with Jean Simmons) and they are both give absolutely astonishing performances in this film. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sophie's 10 Most Emotionally Draining Film Themes

OK, so saying that they're emotionally draining is maybe a bit of an exaggeration but after talking about the music in Anne of Green Gables the other day, I got to thinking about other film soundtracks that make me really emotional and sometimes (always...) make me cry if I listen to them too hard. Then I thought, HEY! Why not make a post about my 10 most moving film themes? So here I am. I've included the themes from some films and specific tracks and recordings from others. I decided not to include anything from musicals (because that would make it really impossible for me to just pick 10) and also no songs, just instrumentals. I hope you enjoy!

Honourable mentions to: Evenstar ("The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"), Theme from "Modern Times" (known as Smile), and Tales of a Jedi Knight/Learn About the Force (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope).

10. Valley of the Shadow
Film: Little Women, 1994
Composer: Thomas Newman

9. Theme from Jurassic Park
Film: Jurassic Park, 1993
Composer: John Williams

8. Victory Celebration
Film: Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi, 1983
Composer: John Williams

7. The Breaking of the Fellowship
Film: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001
Composer: Howard Shore

6. Tara's Theme
Film: Gone With the Wind, 1939
Composer: Max Steiner

5. Stand By Me
Film: Stand By Me, 1986
Composer: Ben. E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller

4. My Heart Will Go On
Film: Titanic, 1997
Composer: James Horner
Pianist: George Davidson

3. Together
Film: Anne of Green Gables, 1985
Composer: Hagood Hardy

2. The Whistle Stop Cafe
Film: Fried Green Tomatoes, 1991
Composer: Thomas Newman

1. Theme from Schindler's List
Film: Schindler's List, 1993
Composer: John Williams
Violin Solo by Itzhak Perlman

It was a real ordeal to compile this list, I must say. Firstly, I had to limit the amount of John Williams on the list (not that there can ever be too much John Willioms - all hail him!) so I decided that I would include no more than one track from one film. Then, I had to decide which ones wouldn't make the final 10. Devastated that I had to leave Evenstar out - if you haven't heard it, go and listen to it now! Finally, I had to rank them and then stress about the fact that I just know I've left out some amazing tracks that have just slipped my mind, because that's always what happens when I make lists. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed listening to my 10 most moving film themes/tracks/whateveryouwanttocallthem and let me know which are your favourites!

P.S. Is it odd that whenever I listen to My Heart Will Go On (the piano instrumental, I'm not into Celine's version really) I think of Stany's Titanic? Because, despite the fact that I will cry if I see the end of the film, I'm really not a fan of Kate and Leo's Titanic. It's just all a bit blegh to me, whereas Stany's is just fantastic! When I wrote my review on it last year I was a bit non-plussed, but it's really grown on me. You should watch it.

P.P.S I just realised there is only one "classic" film on the list. Oh dear...

Friday, 13 May 2011

Films I Can Watch Over and Over #2

The Anne of Green Gables books are my favourite childhood books. I first read them when I was 9 or 10 and the rest, as they say, is history. My copies are all creased and crumpled from too much love and if I ever have children, I hope they will love them just as much as I do. However, in this post I'm going to be talking about the wonderful 1985 Canadian mini series adaptation (which I always think of as a film...).

Because Anne is so well known and loved all over the world, it could easily have been a shambles if it didn't remain faithful to the book, but Sullivan Entertainment didn't let us down. Yes, there are certain parts that deviate a little from the book, but personally I can forgive that because it's so lovingly made. Just thinking about it makes me feel emotional - silly, I know, but I have so much love for the book and this mini series. 

Megan Follows is fantastic as Anne, and really the entire cast is absolutely wonderful. Oh, and because this primarily a classic film blog, I must mention the fact the actress who plays Anne's "bosom friend", Diana Barry, is Katharine Hepburn's great niece. What a small world, eh? 

Some other things that make this one of the most perfect things to grace our screens: 
  • The music
  • The scenery
  • The music
  • The music
  • The music
  • The scenery
  • The music 
  • Puffed sleeves
Still not convinced? Listen to this and tell me it doesn't make you weep tears of joy.

Finally, I want to share one of my favourite scenes from the entire 200 minutes...

"You know something, Diana? We are rich. We have 16 years to our credit and we both have wonderful imaginations. We should be happy as queens. Look at that! You couldn't enjoy it's loveliness any more if you had ropes of diamonds."
Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 May 2011

My Year in Film: April

109. The Gilded Lily (1935)
110. The Singing Nun (1966)
111. Hands Across the Table (1935)
112. The Miracle Woman (1935)
113. The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
114. The 39 Steps (1935)
115. The King's Speech (2011)
116. After the Thin Man (1936)
117. Batman Begins (2005)
118. The Birds (1963)
119. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
120. Psycho (1960)
121. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1955)
122. Bombshell (1933)
123. Rope (1948)
124. Torn Curtain (1966)
125. City Lights (1931)
126. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
127. Splendor in the Grass (1961)
128. Two For the Road (1967)
129. Giant (1956)
130. Hairspray (2007)
131. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
132. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
133. A Bridge Too Far (1977)
134. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

1930s - 8
1940s - 3
1950s - 3
1960s - 7
1970s - 1
1990s - 1
2000s - 1
2010s - 1

Most Watched Actresses

1. Elizabeth Taylor - 2
2. Myrna Loy - 2

Most Watched Actors

1. James Stewart - 3
2. Fred MacMurray - 2
3. Michael Caine - 2
4. William Powell - 2

New To Me Films I Really Loved

(I'm not including any of the Hitchcock films I watched because I'm making a separate post about them)

The King's Speech (2011)
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

There's really not much I can say about this film that hasn't already been said, but I'd like to say just one thing: Do yourself a favour, GO AND SEE IT RIGHT NOW!

Bombshell (1933)
Starring: Jean Harlow, Franchot Tone, Lee Tracy

I've never been disappointed by a Jean Harlow film yet and this one is so charming and funny. I absolutely adored Jean in it and I definitely recommend it if you enjoy watching entertaining but rather pointless '30s comedies.

Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Starring: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this film but I watched it anyway and it blew me away. It's just astonishing and beautiful - and so poignant. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Giant (1956)
Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean

I had to read Edna Ferber's book "Giant" for school a couple of years ago and I've wanted to see the film for a while. It's definitely not completely true to the book (but it has been a while since I read it) and it's always hard for film adaptations to do the books justice, but I really enjoyed it.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton

So... I may have finally found out why so many people love Elizabeth Taylor. She is AMAZING in the film. I mean, I watched her in Giant the day before and it was the first time I'd thought "Wow, she's good!" but in WAOVW? she's spectacular.

I didn't watch as many films this month as have in previous months because I finally decided to start watching The Golden Girls. I'd seen a few episode here and there over the last couple of years but I'd never really thought it was anything special. For the last few months two of my friends have been trying to get me to watch it and I eventually gave in. The rest, as they say, is history. It took me just over 2 weeks to watch all 7 seasons of glorious comedy tinged with just the right amount of sentimentality. I'm kind of infatuated with Blanche/Rue McClanahan but I absolutely adore Sophia, Rose and Dorothy too! If you haven't seen it, you really need to watch it right now! All of the episodes are on YouTube, so you have no excuse not to ;D

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Classic Hollywood - Intimations of Immortality (a new video)

I made a new video with candid footage of the stars (well, all candid except the first clip with Clara Bow). Hope you enjoy it! :)

P.S. I have a few posts lined up, I haven't deserted this blog, I promise! ;D
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